GREAT FALLS — Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) shut off the gas in the town of Hinsdale on Friday because numerous leaks were found in the gas lines in town. The utility company posted on its website:
Montana-Dakota Utilities has shut down the natural gas supply to the entire town of Hinsdale, MT as of 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 19, so we can resolve a number of leaks on our pipeline infrastructure. By shutting down the flow of natural gas, the immediate safety concerns have been mitigated and we are working diligently to plan an emergency pipeline replacement project for the community. We apologize for this inconvenience and ask for your patience as we work through this replacement project, which will ensure system safety for all Hinsdale residents. Updates of the replacement progress will be posted to this page.
Hinsdale Public Schools superintendent Steve Morgan said the town's school seemed to be getting by just fine Monday morning despite having no natural gas.
"We have space heaters in every classroom right now, so the temperature isn't too bad,” Morgan explained. The space heaters were provided by Montana-Dakota Utilities. Space heaters have also been provided to MDU customers in town.
Morgan said the school is expected to have gas by the end of the week. "The school is the first priority to get hooked up,” Morgan said.
He added, "Our cooks are pretty resilient. What they've done is, they've gotten crock pots and the electric roasters and they're cooking food utilizing that. They've changed the menu a little bit.”
Valley County Commissioner John Fahlgren told KRTV on Monday that people in town are coming together to help each other out. "(I) just got off the phone and there was a concern, 'Well, maybe when they get the school hooked up everybody will be able to go there and take a shower.' They said, 'No. Half the town has electric heaters. They'll just go to their neighbor's and take a shower,’” Fahlgren said. "We're certainly willing to do whatever we can to support them."
Fahlgren said he had been told to expect work to replace all the gas lines to take up to a month.
MDU will host a meeting from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, at the American Legion in Hinsdale to address the issue.
KRTV has tried to contact MDU several times, but we have not received a response.